Activity Overview: Humans have been seeking comfort since before recorded history. From the very earliest human dwellings to the mastery of fire, so many technologies are about keeping warm and cool. The advent of air conditioning is only the last line in a long story about humans taking control of their built environment.
As a class or as individuals, consult the "History of Air Conditioning" article that Paul Lester authored for the Department of Energy. Ask students to look for dates in the body of text and to organize them into a timeline. Because of the prose nature of the text, students should use their best judgement to curate a short fact for each date mentioned. When they reach the end of the prose and the timeline, then compare them to the timeline produced by the Department of Energy.
To make this into a graded assignment, consider copying the text from the article into a digital or print document so students do not have access to the pre-made timeline.